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Buddhism’s message of peace answer to terrorism, says PM Modi

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Colombo, May 12 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2- days Sri Lanka said that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to the growing phenomenon of terrorism across the globe.

“The biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today may not be necessarily from conflict between the nation states,” Modi said in his address here as the chief guest at the UN-recognised 14th International Vesak Day meant to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha.

“It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence,” he said.

The theme of this year’s International Vesak Day, being hosted by Sri Lanka for the first time, is Buddhist teachings for social justice and sustainable world peace.

The Indian Prime Minister said that the menace of terrorism in the region “is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion”.

“Sadly, these ideologies of hate and their proponents in our region are not open to dialogue and hence only open to causing death and destruction,” he said.

“I firmly believe that Buddhism’s message of peace is the answer to growing arc of violence all over the world.”

Modi hoped for not just a negative notion of peace defined by the absence of conflict, “but a positive peace where we all work to promote dialogue, harmony and justice, based on compassion and wisdom”.

Stating that the friendship between India and Sri Lanka was etched in time by Lord Buddha, he said that “Buddhism imparts an ever present radiance to our relationship”.

“As close neighbours, our relationship spreads across many layers. It draws its strength as much through our interconnected values of Buddhism as it does from the limitless possibilities of our shared future.”

The Indian Prime Minister also announced a new direct flight between Colombo and Varanasi, the place of Lord Buddha’s first sermon.

“This will ease travel to the land of Buddha for my brothers and sisters from Sri Lanka, and help you directly visit Sravasti, Kusinagar, Sankasa, Kaushambi and Sarnath,” he said.

“My Tamil brothers and sisters will also be able to visit Varanasi, the land of Kashi Viswanath.”

Stating that India was committed to the economic prosperity of Sri Lanka, Modi said: “We will continue to invest in driving positive change and economic growth to deepen our development cooperation.”

He also called for free flow of trade, investments, technology, and ideas between India and Sri Lanka for mutual benefit.

“India’s rapid growth can bring dividends for the entire region, especially in Sri Lanka. In infrastructure and connectivity, transport and energy, we are poised to scale up our cooperation,” Modi stated.

“Our development partnership stretches across nearly every sector of human activity such as agriculture, education, health, resettlement, transport, power, culture, water, shelter, sports, and human resources.”

He also mentioned that India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka amounted to $2.6 billion.

“Its only aim is to support Sri Lanka in realising a peaceful, prosperous and secure future for its people,” Modi said. “Because, the economic and social wellbeing of the people of Sri Lanka is linked with that of 1.25 billion Indians.”

Modi arrived in Colombo on Thursday on a two-day visit at the invitation of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

This is his second visit to the Indian Ocean island nation as Prime Minister after his visit in March 2015.

(IANS)

Europe

Belgian court ends extradition case against Catalan leader Puigdemont

The judge had declared the case to be “without merit” during an in-camera hearing.

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Carles Puigdemont

A Belgian court formally closed extradition proceedings against deposed Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont on Thursday.

Puigdemont and four of his deputies fled to Belgium in October to avoid charges of rebellion, sedition and misusing public money in relation to Catalonia’s independence bid. The Spanish Supreme Court withdrew the European arrest warrants last week.

The judge had declared the case to be “without merit” during an in-camera hearing, Paul Bekaert, Puigdemont’s Belgian lawyer, told AFP.

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North Korea: Trump taking dangerous step to nuclear war by seeking naval blockade

Pyongyang also lashed out at the possible US move in a commentary on Sunday in the communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

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Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald

US President Donald Trump is taking an “extremely dangerous” and “big step” towards nuclear war by seeking a naval blockade, North Korea has stated, according to the official KCNA news agency.

Pyonyang also said it will take “merciless self-defensive” measures against any blockade, as it would consider such a move an “act of war.” The North Korean government also believes any blockade would be a “wanton violation” of its sovereignty and dignity, KCNA reported, citing a foreign ministry spokesman.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously mentioned the “right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods” to and from the North, following Pyongyang’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test on November 29.

Pyongyang also lashed out at the possible US move in a commentary on Sunday in the communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

Earlier on Thursday, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin warned that North Korea now finds itself in a position where it “doesn’t see any other way for self-protection rather than developing weapons of mass destruction and missile technologies.” Having reiterated that Moscow in no way supports Pyongyang’s nuclear program, the Russian leader stressed that the Kremlin calls for steps by all sides towards a peaceful solution.

Both the US and North Korea “should stop fueling tensions,” Putin told international media at his annual press conference, adding that everyone should be “extremely cautious” about the situation on the Korean peninsula. “One launch from North Korea will be enough for catastrophic consequences,” the president warned.

The comments come just one day after State Department spokesperson Heath Nauert appeared to backtrack on statements made by Tillerson, in which the secretary of state said the US was “ready to have the first meeting” with Pyongyang “without preconditions.” Nauert said on Wednesday that North Korea would have to suspend its weapons tests before such talks could take place.

Earlier this month, Moscow said it was ready to help facilitate talks between Washington and Pyongyang, with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stating that “North Korea wants to talk to the US about its own security assurances.”

Russia and China have proposed a so-called “double freeze” plan which would see the US suspend joint drills with South Korea in exchange for Pyongyang halting its missile and nuclear tests. However, that plan was swiftly rejected during the summer by the US, which asserted its right to conduct military exercises with its ally South Korea.

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India ready to work with new Nepal government

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Nepal election
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New Delhi, Dec 14: Welcoming the parliamentary and provincial election results in Nepal, India on Thursday said it was looking forward to working with the new government in Kathmandu.

“India has age-old unique time-tested ties of friendship with the country,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in his weekly media briefing here.

“We look forward to working with the next democratically elected government in Nepal to advance our close and multi-faceted partnership across all sectors and to support Nepal in its pursuit of peace, stability, economic prosperity for all round development,” he said.

Nepal’s CPN-UML emerged as the largest party in the Himalayan nation. The vote count for Parliament and provincial assembly elections in Nepal ended on Wednesday.

IANS

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